Q&A with The Sun's Lem Satterfield and Pat O'Malley

High school reporters answer selected readers' questions about high school football

high school

October 25, 2004|By Baltimoresun.com Staff | Baltimoresun.com Staff,SPECIAL TO BALTIMORESUN.COM

Retired Coach, Cape Coral, Fla.: Is this Hereford team one of the best ever?

Pat O'Malley: Certainly in Hereford history, this is one of the Bulls' best teams, but it's a shame they don't get more competition in Baltimore County to really show how good they are. The 2A State playoffs should determine how good they are in terms of being in a class with the top teams ever from the Baltimore area.

Lem Satterfield: It depends. Are you asking if they are one of the best ever in Baltimore, or are you asking if they are the best Hereford has ever had? If it's the former, I would say, no. They haven't been proven even against their best competition of the season yet, let alone the best teams of their era.

I would say Dunbar's 12-0 state championship team of 1994 was one of the best the Baltimore area has ever seen. It was led by Tommy Polley, now an NFL player, and it defeated a great team from Cambridge whose assistant was Al Thomas (winner of a number of state titles) and it also defeated Fort Hill, whose coach Mike Calhoun was legendary in this area. As far as being the best Hereford team ever, that could be the case. They have the best combination of speed, athleticism and Division I talent of any of the previous Bulls' teams, and they also have a quarterback in Andy DePaola who threw the game-winning TD pass as a sophomore in the title game of a 2002. As a senior, De Paola has thrown for 1,283 yards and 17 TDs and one INT.

Joe, Dundalk: What's wrong with Dundalk? They were so good 2 years ago.

Lem Satterfield: They are going through growing pains under a relatively new coach, a relatively new athletic director (at least to the school) and that will take some time. Change takes time.

Devin, Woodlawn: What are the top five Baltimore County football teams right now?

Lem Satterfield: Hereford, Eastern Tech, Perry Hall, Overlea, Dulaney.

Dave, Baltimore: Who are the front runners for high school football coach of the year?

Pat O'Malley: Biff Poggi (Gilman), Bruce Riley (Bel Air), Brian Van Deusen (River Hill), Mike Cotham (Northeast) - if the Eagles make the 3A playoffs for first time in 100 years. Others could emerge in the playoffs.

Lem Satterfield: I can't tell you that. It's an ongoing process.

Nathaniel, Baltimore: What's up with Dunbar's football team?

Lem Satterfield: They are talented, solid and have very few weaknesses. They have a versatile leader in Nathan Irby, who can score on offense and deliver brutal hits and plays well in the secondary on defense. They have a 6-4 junior quarterback who has great targets in 6-2 Derron Edwards and 6-8 Kyle Johnson, and they have a line that is huge and seasoned. They will be tough to beat, but they have to get out of their region by beating the same Poolesville team they got by last year before losing to Joppatowne.

Chris, Laurel: Do you think the Reservoir Gators can win any more games this year?

Lem Satterfield: They just smoked somebody last weekend, so they should have some confidence going against 3-5 Howard and struggling Centennial in their last two games. So, they have a great shot.

Mike, Perry Hall: What is the criteria or what dictates the schools you may choose to cover a story? Perry Hall is an up and moving program and there is no coverage from The Sun.

Pat O'Malley: Space limits our coverage and we try to give our readers the best games each week, the games that mean something in the various league standings and rankings. And in some cases, a special player may draw us to a given game.

Lem Satterfield: I have to propose the stories to my editor and so do other reporters, and it all gets weighed against the space available and what else is going on. Perry Hall was ranked in the preseason, lost to Overlea, so they had a shot early on and didn't live up to billing. However, they're on the comeback, and they've got a chance to compete for a Class 4A North Region title if they can close the regular season winning. They will likely meet Patterson of Baltimore City in the regions.

Baltimoresun.com reader: To be the best you have to play the best, so how can Loyola be the No. 1 football team in the state if they didn't play No. 2 Hereford?

Pat O'Malley: Loyola is not No. 1 in the state, but rather No. 1 in The Sun poll for the metro area until Saturday, when the Dons lost to Gilman in overtime. Public schools are limited to their league schedules and a specific number of games they can play and often times, it's impossible to schedule certain attractive games. By the way, the state Associated Press poll had Good Counsel No. 1 last week, Loyola No. 5 and Hereford No. 10.

Lem Satterfield: Your comment could not be any farther off the mark. Loyola has traditionally played one of the toughest, if not the toughest schedule around. And even though Loyola's schedule is not as tough as it has been in the past, it s still head-and-shoulders much more difficult than Hereford's.

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